Group Aims to Provide Voice for Jews Who Oppose Zionism
Byline: GUEST VIEWPOINT By Rebecca Tumposky
Jews need to oppose Zionism to truly hold up our varied traditions of social justice. As a new and growing organization, the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network seeks to challenge the violence and injustice of Israeli apartheid, and to challenge the notion that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism.
A 2007 survey reported by The Jerusalem Post found that about half of Jewish-Americans younger than age 35 feel little or no identification with Israel or with the Zionist goal of a Jewish state.
Alienated from the 52 major Jewish organizations in the United States that support Israel in unison, a great number of American Jews have no organized voice on Israel - a nation that claims to represent them. They therefore have few avenues to exert political influence on Israel in their communities and political structures.
IJAN hopes to provide a countervailing voice to this hegemony, led by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, not only in the United States but worldwide.
IJAN is an international network of Jews whose Jewish identities are not based on Zionism but on a plurality of histories and experiences. We share a commitment to participation in struggles against colonialism and imperialism. We therefore oppose Zionism and its manifestation in the state of Israel's ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people and confiscation of their land.
IJAN, in fact, opposes all imperialist aggression, and strongly calls for ending the military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. The relentless demonization of Arabs and Muslims as "terrorists" over decades, nurtured by the propaganda that Israel is the only truly "civilized" society in the region, made the massive and brutal attacks on innocent Muslim populations acceptable to the American public. The so-called terror groups relentlessly cited in the media are Hezbollah and Hamas. These organizations oppose Israeli invasion, occupation and blockade, but are no threat to the United States.
Israel and its U.S. lobby helped pushed us toward the Iraq war and are exerting similar pressure to attack Iran. Islamophobia has made the amorphous "war on terror" the latest excuse for the United States to maintain the largest military in the world. Israel uses the same pretext to maintain one of the strongest military machines in the world, against its own claim of constant vulnerability.
Many liberals and progressives who oppose the war in Iraq and U.S. dominance in the Middle East struggle to criticize Israel. For many, the defense of Israel comes from the desire to support the Jewish community and from the misguided perception that criticism of Israel amounts to anti-Semitism. …